Families are fighting plans that they fear could see a footbridge over one of Newcastle’s busiest roads demolished.
Newcastle City Council has revealed proposals to put a pedestrian crossing next to the Three Mile Inn footbridge in Gosforth, which campaigners say is the “safest crossing on the Great North Road”.
Council bosses want to install a toucan crossing, as the current footbridge is inaccessible to wheelchair users.
But a petition started by the Gosforth Traffic campaign group – which fears the bridge will be demolished after a potential crossing is in place – has gathered more than 500 signatures, with its Facebook page also being flooded with comments.
Many highlight being able to cross without fear of being knocked down, while others claim it is better for congestion as traffic doesn’t have to grind to a halt at lights.
Others raised concerns about the lost advertising revenue from the bridge’s billboards, after a Freedom of Information request revealed it added £11,903 to council coffers in 2015/16.
Gosforth Traffic’s John Dockerty, who submitted the request, said: “I fail to understand why a cash-strapped local authority would wish to lose over £10,000 a year in advertising revenue.
“I feel that Newcastle City Council has misjudged the mood of local people over the bridge and crossing and I would like to see it retained as an alternative option, giving local residents a choice over which route to use when crossing this very busy stretch of road.”
The council insists there are currently no plans to knock down the bridge – which connects the Three Mile Inn pub to the petrol station on the other side of the Great North Road – but says it is an option.
The authority added it will have to spend a further £25,000 on non-slip surfacing in the next five years.
A Newcastle City Council spokesperson said: “The reason for the proposed new crossing is that the existing footbridge is inaccessible to people with pushchairs, wheelchairs and cyclists who wish to cross the road at this location.
“There are no proposals at this stage to remove the footbridge, although we have stated that if a Toucan crossing is installed we would consider doing this.
Any future proposals to remove the bridge would require further public consultation, the results of which would be taken into consideration when reaching a decision.
“We are required to carry out regular structural assessments and maintenance on footbridges and this does incur ongoing costs to the council.
“Any future proposals to remove the bridge would require further public consultation, the results of which would be taken into consideration when reaching a decision.”
The consultation on the crossing is running until November 9 and the petition is available to view on Gosforth Traffic’spage.